April 12 2019

Are We Living In a Simulation? MIT Scientist Says More Likely than Not

What if I told you that physical reality is an illusion and we all live in a computer simulation? That…

What if I told you that physical reality is an illusion and we all live in a computer simulation? That hypothesis, famously probed in the 1999 film The Matrix, is the subject of a new book by Rizwan Virk, a computer scientist and video game developer who leads Play Labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In his book, The Simulation Hypothesis, Virk endeavors to unpack the heady arguments that call our physical world into question.

Are we all just artificial intelligence (A.I.) programs running on the basement servers of some advanced future civilization? Or perhaps the Wachowskis were on to something when they depicted modern society as an illusion used to enslave our minds, as our bodies powered a dystopian planet ruled by robots. Maybe there really is no spoon.

It may sound like a far-fetched idea, but the simulation hypothesis is today discussed seriously in academia and more popularly by people like Elon Musk.

We spoke to Virk about the hypothesis, why it matters, and why it has gained traction 20 years after The Matrix hit theaters.

Describe the simulation hypothesis for people who aren’t familiar with it.

The basic idea is that everything we see around us, including the Earth and the universe, is part of a very sophisticated MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) and that we are players in this game. The hypothesis itself comes in different forms.

In one version, we’re all A.I. within a simulation that’s running on somebody else’s computer. In another version, we are “player characters,” conscious things that exist outside the simulation and we inhabit characters, just like you might take on the character of an elf or dwarf in a fantasy RPG.

“The basic idea is that everything we see around us is part of a very sophisticated MMORPG.” (Read More)